The All Blacks have named four uncapped players in their squad for their 2017 end-of-year tour. Here we look at who they are, what their attributes are, and how they will factor in to Steve Hansen’s plans after joining up with New Zealand on this tour.
Asafo Aumua is probably the least surprising call-up of the four. The 20-year-old hooker has exploded onto the scene, beginning with his dominant performance at the World Rugby Under 20 Championship. He has scored seven tries so far in the Mitre 10 Cup and given his position in the front row that is no mean feat. Steve Hansen referred to him as being “special” and that kind of praise does not come often or easily from the All Blacks head coach.
Aumua is physical both in carry and in defence, and he will enjoy learning from Dane Coles, Cody Taylor, and Nathan Harris. Yes, he is not yet the finished article, but it will be very exciting to see him step onto the field during this tour and see him continue his development amongst the best players in the world.
The highly rated rugby league convert has been steadily improving since joining the Blues in 2016. Duffie is an accomplished footballer who has the necessary array of skills to play any position in the back three. He is good under the high ball, has bags of pace, and is a wonderful finisher. He was at the heart of North Harbour’s resurgence in the Mitre 10 Cup this season and formed a formidable back three along with Shaun Stevenson and Tevita Li.
He also brings with him a high level of maturity given his experience from his days at the Melbourne Storm, where he developed a winning mentality, and this will stand him in good stead in the All Black environment. Duffie is certain to get game time on this tour, especially when Damian McKenzie moves to fly-half.
The Northland and Crusaders centre has had a great 2017. He was integral to the Crusaders Super Rugby title-winning charge and formed a formidable midfield partnership with Ryan Crotty. It was this solid pairing in the midfield that created plenty of opportunities for the Crusaders’ back three to shine. Their combination was arguably the best in the competition.
He is a good defender, intelligent footballer, good distributor and runs decent lines. Given the doubts that have been flying around regarding the depth of New Zealand’s midfield, expect Goodhue to get some game time. He was drafted into the squad during the British Lions tour, so he is no stranger to the demands of the All Blacks environment and he should settle in well.
The 29-year-old Tasman and Crusaders loosehead prop may not be a household name, but he has been plying his trade and honing his craft for years. Unfortunate to compete with Joe Moody and Wyatt Crockett for a starting berth at the Crusaders, Perry has gone about his business in a workmanlike manner and he puts in dominant performances for Tasman every week.
A good scrummager with good core skills in the set piece and a high work rate, hopefully he will get an opportunity to play during the tour. Given that Kane Hames hasn’t established himself fully at this level it would be interesting to see them compete against one another for game time. He was called in to train with the All Blacks earlier this year so clearly Hansen likes what he sees in Perry.
Which of the four do you expect to stand out? Let us know below!
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